the Murderous Mountain
There is no need to love the mountains to see that some of them… have characters, that transform those who face them and can reveal surprising and life-changing facts. You can nearly feel their breath.
It happens when you visit Grindelwald in Switzerland and look up.
There… you will see a rock wall, with three massive peaks, called by the Swiss : the Eiger, the Jungfrau and the Mönch.
The first of them, not the highest one, is also called the Murderous Mountain. Its north face is 6000 feet height. In German Mordwand ( murderous mountain) looks nearly exactly the same as a word Nordwand ( “north face” or “north wall”). It is a game of words that comes close to the truth when it comes to this particular peek. It never sees any ray of sun and has killed at least 64 climbers since 1935.
There is something very… unexpected, that makes this particular mountain so important.
Yes… people say- it is its shape, darkness or height and constant rock avalanches that sweep the wall and transform it into a labyrinth that can easily kill an inattentive climber. Or the difference between the surprisingly dangerous 6000 feet wall and calm and refreshing meadow surrounding it, that looks like a “stone standing in a flower garden” ( Rebuffat). Or the tragedies that are associated with it.
But the mountain goes far beyond the revelations it has for the climbers or hikers hungry for startling beauty.
Its inward-curving cavity transforms the north wall into a prison for clouds, and wind. Once they get in, they flow from one rock formation to the other, until they go up to the summit and disappear. Look close on the photo, you will see that shape. It is a world in itself.
The north face is clearly visible from a village placed about 5 km away. There are houses, a few shops and hotels with huge verandas where people sit and watch the wall through the telescopes, whenever something “interesting” happens.
between one sip of their warm tea and another
They are so close to the climbers and the wall, they can nearly touch them, and see the expression on their faces. The risk and cosiness come very very close to each other.
The climbers are clearly visible when they fight in this kingdom of shadow and fury, where strong winds can turn the weather around in a matter of minutes. And the climbers see the people on the verandas. So close, yet far away, like divided by a glass wall…. in a distance of one word, that turns everything around in our lives.
Mountaineers who manage to climb the Eiger are changed forever.
The visitors are just a minute away from the wall, yet they stay in their safe and warm environment, able to watch the tragedies and human achievement unfold in front of their eyes.
In the safety of their comfort zones, rarely knowing what it means to face and fight their fears, fall and stand up, win and reach their dreams, fulfill deepest passions. In the distance of one word… DO it!
so close, they can nearly touch it…
Many thanks to Anaulin for the photo.